AllEars’ Parents’ Guide to Walt Disney World’s Epcot
You’re planning a trip to Walt Disney World with your kids in tow! Congratulations!
The World’s second park, open since 1982, was conceived as a place to celebrate and experience human achievements, imagination, and dreams of the future. If you visit Epcot from 2019 onward for at least a few years, you’ll also encounter construction and lots of changes, as the Park is in an unprecedented period of transformation.
To help you navigate this Park-in-progress, we’re sharing tips, suggestions, and handy information to help you make the most of your visit in two categories: Epcot Logistics and Epcot Attractions. Each of these categories is packed with info and links to other helpful posts and pages right here on AllEars.
Here’s your Parents’ Guide to Walt Disney World’s Epcot!
Guide to Epcot Logistics
Calendar of Events
To know what special events are on the calendar during your visit, check out our Calendar of Events. We update this searchable calendar throughout the year, including Epcot festival openings, start dates for new nighttime spectaculars, restaurant and attraction openings, After Hours events, and more.
Search by month and year to get an overview of what to expect — then get your kids psyched for all the fun!
Epcot Baby Care Center
If you’re traveling with really little ones, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with the Baby Care Center offerings at Walt Disney World. Every Park has a Baby Care Center. Epcot’s is located in the Odyssey Pavilion on the right side of the building closer to World Showcase’s Mexico pavilion.
Baby Care Centers have all the basics: baby food and formula, diapers, simple clothing, wipes, etc. But because it’s also adjacent to the First Aid Center, you’ll also find items for older guests (adults and older kids) like basic over the counter medications, bottled beverages, etc.
But Baby Care Centers don’t stop with items you can purchase (or sometimes get for free, like a single diaper). They also provide quiet spaces for nursing and changing. And if you’ve got a little one (or even an older kid) who needs a place to decompress, this is an excellent place to do that.
Click here to visit our Baby Care Center page to see more about what these hidden gems have to offer for families.
Epcot First Aid
Like the Baby Care Centers, First Aid Centers in the Parks are excellent resources for families.
Found adjacent to Baby Care Centers, First Aid Centers are staffed with nurses and provide everything from single-dose pain medication to professionals to take your vitals when you’re feeling under the weather.
We’ve shared all the details about First Aid Centers here!
Stroller Rentals and Policies
When you’re visiting Walt Disney World with kids, it’s natural to wonder if you should bring or rent a stroller — even if your kid doesn’t normally use one in your ‘real life’. Disney World is huge, and the amount of walking you and the kids will do on any given day is highly unusual and flat-out exhausting.
We’ve gathered lots of Stroller FAQs here, but let’s go over some basics. You can bring your own stroller, rent from Disney in the Parks (and Disney Springs), or rent from a third party. If you rent Disney’s strollers, your options are single or double strollers that are crafted from heavy-duty plastic.
You can rent a stroller for a single day or your length-of-stay (for a small per day discount).
There are benefits and drawbacks to all three stroller options (it can be a pain to use your own stroller on Disney transportation vehicles, the rentals are unfamiliar and perhaps uncomfortable, third party rentals often require you to be at your Resort for delivery, etc.), so you’ll need to consider lots of variables when making your decision.
Learn more about stroller rentals and use here to help make your decisions about using a stroller at Walt Disney World.
If you do choose to bring your own stroller, be sure to check the size. In 2019, Disney Parks implemented new stroller size and style requirements, and while it’s not enforced throughout the property, it can be at any time. Your stroller needs to be 31″ x 52″, and you can no longer use a wagon-style stroller.
Epcot Walking Distances
We’re including some estimated walking distances into and around the Park to give you an idea of how much walking you’ll do.
- .31 miles: the furthest bus stop gate to Park entrance
- .87 miles: closed loop around Future World
- 1.02 mile: closed loop around World Showcase
- .52 miles: distance from International Gateway to Spaceship Earth
Keep in mind: the closed loops around Future World and World Showcase do not include any back tracking, walks into or out of attractions, walks to find a bathroom, stops for dining or rides — it’s just the total if you took a nonstop stroll from park entrance around Future World or from the entrance of World Showcase around in a circle. A typical day at Epcot will easily wrack up ten miles (and sometimes 20,000+ steps) in a single day.
The furthest bus stop gate is almost a third of a mile from the front entrance of the Park, but it will feel a lot longer at the end of a full, tiring day in the Park.
And if you use the Skyliner, Friendship Boats, or your feet to enter the Park at International Gateway at the start of your day, you’ll get in plenty of steps just getting to Future World where rides open along with the Park opening. (At publication, only two things are open in World Showcase at 9AM: Frozen Ever After in Norway and Boulangerie-Patisserie Les Halles in France.)
Epcot Lost and Found
If you lose any of your personal items during a day at Epcot — we’re talking your cell phone, a hat, your child’s favorite stuffed animal, your wallet — know that Epcot has a dedicated lost and found. Epcot’s lost and found is located in Future World’s Guest Relations. You’ll find Guest Relations to the left and slightly behind Spaceship Earth as you enter the Park.
Note that current construction at Epcot’s entrance can make navigating Future World a bit of a challenge. Here’s the view looking toward Guest Relations (on the other side of Spaceship Earth) with walls up around the fountain at the Park’s front entrance (circa January 2020).
Here’s what to do if you realize you lost something.
- If you know where you lost it, return to that location. Talk to Cast Members on site there to see if the item was turned in or found.
- If you know you left it in the storage pouch on a ride or at your table in a restaurant or someplace specific, let the CM know that, too. In some cases, like say at Frozen Ever After, they may allow you to wait until the vehicle you were in comes back so you can check it out.
- If your item was not located, you’ll want to check at Lost and Found in Guest Relations. Here they’ll search for your item (don’t worry — they’re super organized so the search should only take minutes). If it’s not there, you have one more step.
- You’ll need to fill out a lost item form on ChargerBack.com/DisneyWorld. This is a third party Disney uses to manage lost and found inquiries. Once you’ve submitted your form, you’ll hear back from Disney within 48 hours.
Learn everything you need to know about Walt Disney World Lost and Found here.
Lost Children (or Lost Parents)
At Epcot, it’s no small feat to keep your family together at all times (particularly during Epcot’s festivals and with so many construction walls around), and when a child gets lost, it’s natural for panic to set in fast.
We’re not going to minimize the intensity of this experience; it can be overwhelming. But the Cast Members at Walt Disney World do a tremendous job of handling these incredibly emotional experiences.
Before you even leave home, prepare a bit for this possibility, and the situation (should it arise) will be resolved very quickly. If your child is old enough to remember his or her parents’ names and phone numbers, talk to them beforehand about how to identify a Cast Member and what to tell them: “I’m lost. My mom/dad is ______. Their phone number is ______. ”
If your child is too young to recall this information, prepare by having your phone number and name somewhere on the kid. You could write the info discreetly on your child’s MagicBand, have temporary tattoos or rubber bracelets made with the info, or find another creative option online (parents have lots of great ideas!).
Another way to prepare is to take your child’s or your children’s pictures each morning you enter a Park so you’ll have an accurate photo of them each day. When Cast Members are looking for your little one, they’ll know exactly what clothing or identifiable features they have.
When you realize your child is lost, find the nearest Cast Member and explain the situation. If you have a second adult in your group, one of you should stay right where you are while the other goes with the CM to search. The Cast Member will contact Lost Children in the Park to see if he or she is there and to leave a report. All available CMs in the vicinity will be activated to search for the child, too, so it’s not just the two of you.
When a Cast Member locates your child (or when your kid asks a CM for help), the CM will stay with your child until you are reunited. This may happen when your child or the CM he or she is with calls you. Or it may happen when the CM who’s with your found child contacts the CM who’s with you. The reunion may happen nearby if your child hasn’t gotten to far away, or it may happen at the Baby Care Center, where a Cast Member will wait with your found child until you arrive.
Cast Members are trained to handle these situations calmly and efficiently. It may not help you to know that if you’re ever experiencing a lost kiddo situation, but know, too, that whoever finds your child will also be trained to help him or her feel safe and secure. They’ll likely even refer to the kid’s “lost parents” so the child won’t feel badly about being lost.
Where to Go if Your Child Needs a Nap
If your child (or children) need a nap but you’re not able to head back to your Resort or hotel, there are some quiet spots in Epcot where you can find relative quiet. Baby Care Centers are great spots to rest, and even if your child isn’t a baby anymore, these spaces are likely still available to them. If the Baby Care Center is full of, well, babies, see if the First Aid Center has a quiet space you can rest for a short time.
Other quiet spots can include out-of-the-way tables in restaurants not during meal time (meal times are busy and noisy, but also you don’t want to claim a table that might be needed for actual diners). We like the banquette seating along the edges of the Land pavilion’s Sunshine Seasons when crowds are low.
Restrooms are also typically a bit off the beaten path, and you’ll often find benches (and maybe even some shade!) if you’re lucky! The restrooms behind the Imagination pavilion are typically a ghost town, so even though you won’t find much (or any) seating back there, you will likely find some relative quiet.
Of course, if you’re not averse to getting some extra steps in, you can always get your child comfy in the stroller and just walk around for a bit. Maybe grab a drink along the way (or snack around World Showcase!) and just enjoy your surroundings. If you’re visiting with your own personal stroller, this may be the ideal option.
Or, if you think your child can handle a little bit of noise (and pull himself or herself away from the sights) and you don’t mind technically leaving the Park, you could always take a few loops around on the Monorail! In the late morning and early afternoon, you may find some relative quiet time on this highway in the sky, and the motion of the ride might actually help lull a young child to dreamland.
When you’re traveling the World with little ones (or big ones with little bladders), knowing where to find the best restrooms can be some seriously valuable information. Here are our Restroom MVPs.
For its quiet, out-of-the-way location, the Imagination! pavilion gets high marks.
Over at the Land pavilion, downstairs on the first level, you’ll find a large restroom. It’s tucked into the corner near Soarin’ and across the way from Sunshine Seasons. So if you’re going to spend a lot of time at the Land pavilion checking out Living with the land, Awesome Planet, and Soarin’ — followed by a snack at Sunshine Seasons — don’t forget to pop into the restrooms as needed.
For its convenient location — it’s along a path between Future World and World Showcase, and adjacent to the Baby Care Center and First Aid, and proximal to the Epcot Experience exhibit — the Odyssey Center bathrooms are a terrific option.
Once you’re on the way around World Showcase, you’ll want to know that the American Adventure restrooms are another convenient spot that also happens to be really stylish. You’ll find several stalls, baby-changing space, and high-powered blowers to dry your hands. Plus there’s abundant outdoor space (some covered) in case you need to spread out and chill for a bit.
If you’re calling one of the Epcot area Resorts home, you’re using the Skyliner, or you’re taking a walk over to Hollywood Studios, know that International Gateway has restrooms. They’re simple and functional and much-needed in this newly high-traffic area.
Of course, the best restroom is the one you need when you really need it. Click here to visit Disney World’s interactive map of restrooms! And be sure to have My Disney Experience loaded on your phone. You can use it to search for the nearest restrooms anywhere you are in the World — and you can get walking directions to get you there.
And here’s a list of Walt Disney World’s companion restrooms in case you want to make a note of those, too.
Best (Non-Attraction) Places to Chill Out
If the Florida heat has got the best of you, you’ll need to act fast to find some relief. We’ll cover the best attractions for cooling off in the next section, but for now, let’s talk about some non-attractions places to chill out.
Exhibits in World Showcase are terrific places to relax and get out of the sun. You’ll find indoor exhibits at just about all of the pavilions in World Showcase (and you’ll find cool shops in all of them, too). Some of our favorites include Japan, Mexico, and Norway.
ImageWorks in the Imagination! pavilion is a fun place to explore after you ride the pavilion’s attraction, but because this shop/creative laboratory has an easily accessible entrance on the left side of the pavilion, you can stop in anytime you need a break.
The Seas pavilion aquariums (called SeaBase) are an exhibit you must see, and if you need a place to cool off that also keeps the lights low so your brain can truly relax, this is the place for you. Plus there’s something peaceful in watching the fish, sea turtles, dolphins, and manatees swim by!
If your kids are shopping ’til you think you’ll drop, you don’t have to worry about lugging around their magical treasure. Epcot offers Package Pick-Up and Package Delivery (if you’re staying on-site and have more than 24 hours left in your stay).
Merchandise locations can package and transport your purchased items to the Package Pick-Up, which is located at Gateway Gifts near the front entrance of the Park. You’ll pick up your packages on your way out of the Park and carry them back to wherever you head next (Resort, hotel, house rental, airport, etc.).
If you want to avoid carrying them back to your Disney Resort, you can opt to have your purchases delivered to your Resort. You’ll still need to pick them up when you get back to your Resort, but it saves you a lot of schlepping. Note that you need to have more than 24 hours left on your stay to use delivery.
Guide to Epcot Attractions
Here we’re going to share insights, information, and tips for navigating and enjoying Epcot’s attractions with kids.
Ride Closures and Refurbishments
One variable you’ll want to keep in mind when you’re planning your Walt Disney World vacation is the ride closures and refurbishments. Luckily, we have a filter-able database for that! Click here to check out the page. You can search by Park and by date, and this info can change at any time (thanks, Disney!), so check back frequently as you’re planning your trips!
Ride Heights and Safety Information
We’ve collected information about ride height and safety information for each of the parks (theme and water) at Walt Disney World. Click here to review this information.
If you’re looking for tips on the best rides without height requirements, click here!
And if you know your kiddo’s height, we’ve arranged Walt Disney World height requirements by size here!
Best Attractions with Short Waits
Despite your meticulous FastPass+ planning, you’re still going to have to wait in some lines for attractions at some point. We’ve got tips on the best attractions that tend to have shorter waits (relatively speaking). Click here to check those out!
Best Attraction Queues
And while we’re talking about (sometimes long) waits in line, we’ve also highlighted the best attraction queues here. One of our Epcot favorites: Frozen Ever After! Though you’ll definitely want to try to get a FastPass for this popular attraction, if you happen to have to go through the queue, it’s a ton of fun!
Best Places (on Attractions) to Chill Out
That Florida heat has gotten to you again, and it’s time to chill out — this time on or in an attraction. Epcot has plenty of films to enjoy while you cool off. New additions like Awesome Planet in the Land pavilion and Beauty and the beast Sing-Along in the France pavilion are perfect places to cool off.
The American Adventure pavilion’s show (and pre-show) offer you a lengthy opportunity to escape the heat, and since there’s comfy seating for the show, you can take a load off your feet, too.
Rides offer time to cool off, too. Soarin’ is a crowd favorite, of course, but if you want something leisurely with iconic sights and smells, Living with the Land is a long, relaxing float through the greenhouses of the Land pavilion. It’s a sleeper hit for sure.
Single Rider Lines at Epcot
Epcot has only one ride with a single rider line: Test Track. Guests ages 7 and up can choose to use the single rider line in order to expedite their wait for the attraction. Note that on Test Track, you as a single rider likely won’t be able to design your test vehicle; rather, you’ll be plugged into a car with an open seat, and your vehicle will have been designed by another guest in the car.
If you’re a party of two or more using single rider, know that you likely will not be in a car together.
Where to Meet Characters at Epcot
If your kids are excited to meet some of their favorite characters in real life, Epcot is a great place to do it! We’ve assembled a list of characters who have regular and sporadic meet-and-greets in the Park. Click here to find out where to meet your favorites!
For answers to Frequently Asked Questions about character meet-and-greets at Walt Disney World, click here!
Epcot doesn’t have a parade.
Epcot Forever Tips
Epcot Forever is the nighttime show over World Showcase Lagoon. To get a front row view of this show, plan to stake out a spot 30-60 minutes before the show. In a pinch, you can see the show from a distance in Future World (which will give you a leg up when heading for the buses after the show).
Best views of the Epcot nighttime shows can be found on the bridge between France and United Kingdom, on the outdoor terrace at Tokyo Dining, and in World Showcase Plaza.
Epcot Forever does offer a dining package at Rose & Crown Pub and Dining Room in the U.K. Click here for details.
Brush up on even more planning tips at the links below!
Extra Magic Hours
Walt Disney World Transportation
Epcot Dining and Menus
Epcot Attractions — Full List